Xavier Becerra

California remains ground zero for data privacy fight
New law seeks to define internet users’ rights

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will be tasked with rulemaking for the state’s first-in-the-nation data privacy law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Gov. Jerry Brown signed it almost a year ago, but it’s still unclear what California’s first-in-the-nation data privacy law will look like in practice. 

The law was the first in the United States to attempt to define internet users’ rights over their personal data that companies often sell for marketing purposes. But ahead of the law’s Jan. 1, 2020, implementation date, the state is still grappling with the balance between consumer protection and a light regulatory approach that has allowed the tech sector to become a major part of the California economy.

Democrats look to defend Obamacare with disaster aid amendment

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is looking to put Obamacare and Democrats' defense of it front and center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:08 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Wednesday said Democrats would propose an amendment to a $13.45 billion disaster aid package that would block the Justice Department from carrying out President Donald Trump’s push for a court ruling invalidating the 2010 health care law.

The move is another threat to consensus on a supplemental spending bill that leaders hoped could be negotiated in a bipartisan manner, but talks have until now been weighed down by disagreement over the package’s size and scope. Senate Democrats’ strategy introduces a new hurdle and is part of a broader push by Democrats to steer public attention toward health care.

With Obamacare under siege, Democrats fire back
Republicans defend Trump’s bid in Texas case: ‘The health care, it’s going to tank. It’s just a matter of when’

Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal said that under the Democrats’ new plan, families with an income of up to $96,000 per year would qualify for health care subsidies, while individuals making up to $46,000 would qualify. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are seeking to move beyond special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report to a different action taken this week by the Justice Department: its statement supporting Texas’ legal challenge to the 2010 health care law, which said the entire act should fall.

House Democrats, highlighting the differences between their positions and the administration’s, unveiled draft legislation Tuesday that seeks to lower health care costs for people who get insurance coverage through the federal and state marketplaces.

Data privacy bill faces long odds as states, EU move ahead
Most tech companies agree laws on how to collect and use consumer data are essential, but the specifics are still being debated

Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., right, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., are seen in the basement of the Capitol before the Senate policy luncheons on Sept. 25, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers want to pass a federal data privacy bill before 2020 to put Washington on par with Europe and ahead of several U.S. states. But those efforts could be delayed because of differences between technology companies and Congress over how powerful the law should be and how it should be structured.

A delay in enacting a uniform federal law could leave technology giants and startup app makers trying to meet a latticework of standards set by multiple regulations passed by many states as well as a growing international set of rules being modeled after the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Companies also could be liable for fines and face consumer lawsuits allowed by state laws.

Stacey Abrams to give Democratic SOTU response
The 2018 Georgia gubernatorial nominee may be a Senate contender in 2020

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams will be giving the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Fresh off her 2018 gubernatorial loss and ahead of a possible 2020 Senate bid, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams will be giving the party’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., announced the selection Tuesday, a week before the address, which had been delayed in the fight over the partial government shutdown. 

Sen. Kamala Harris Aide Resigns After $400,000 Sexual Harassment Settlement Emerges
California senator did not know about the lawsuit, her office says

A top aide to Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., resigned Wednesday after a settlement for $400,000 over a lawsuit levying gender harassment allegations against him surfaced. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A longtime aide to Sen. Kamala Harris resigned Wednesday after another news publication asked about a $400,000 sexual harassment and retaliation settlement stemming from his time working for the California Department of Justice.

The Sacramento Bee first reported this story.

Want to Build a More Diverse Capitol Hill? Start With the Staff
Congress has a diversity problem, and I had a front-row view

If we’re going to grow the pool of diverse candidates for Hill jobs, we have to start by directly addressing the barriers that young people of color might face, Perez writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Diversity is a driving force behind a changing America: People of color now represent almost 40 percent of the U.S. population. Yet somehow, a new Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies report shows that they make up merely 13.7 percent of senior staffers in the U.S. House of Representatives.

That means our elected officials’ legislative directors, communications directors, and chiefs of staff are overwhelmingly white, even in offices representing states with large Latino and African-American populations.

Dems Rip Page From GOP Playbook to Fight Trump’s Pollution Rollback
Markey: ‘We’ll use every tool available to block the Trump administration’s U-turn on fuel efficiency’

Sen. Dianne Feinstein says “Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and we’re not giving that up to President Trump without a fight.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats opposed to the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze fuel efficiency standards have limited options to fight back in the halls and floor of Congress, but the one option they do have comes straight from the GOP deregulatory playbook.

Once finalized, Democrats, led by top members on the Environment and Public Works Committee, plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the Trump administration’s fuel efficiency strategy, Sen. Edward J. Markey told reporters on a phone conference in response to the administration’s proposal Thursday.

Staff Up Congress Aims to Tackle Diversity From the Top
Noel Perez says congressional staff should more resemble constituents

Noel Perez, a leader of Staff Up Congress, worked for former California Rep. Xavier Becerra, now the state’s attorney general. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

What’s one way to increase diversity on the Hill? Start at the senior-staffer level. 

That’s according to the group Staff Up Congress, a joint campaign between the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, which focuses on opportunities for Latinos, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which focuses on opportunities for African-Americans.

Supreme Court Sides With Pregnancy Centers in Free Speech Case
California law had required centers to provide information about abortion

Abortion opponents demonstrate outside the Supreme Court on Monday, a day before it overturned a California law that required pregnancy centers to provide information about free or low-cost abortions offered under state programs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled against a California law that required medical centers that primarily serve pregnant women to inform patients about free or low-cost abortions under state health care programs — a decision that some lawmakers warned could cause problems for similar health and safety laws.

In a 5-4 opinion, the court’s five conservative justices sided with the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates and other centers with religious affiliations in the case that pitted free speech against regulations that require disclosure of health laws.